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Rosh Chodesh: An End and A Beginning

We say in the Prayer of Mussaf for Rosh Chodesh: “May this month be the end and the termination of all our troubles, the start and the beginning for the redemption of our soul.” This is an unusual way of asking God for something. We do not, for example, say: “Please put an end to our illnesses, and give us health”, and we do not say: “Stop the wars and conflicts, and place peace upon us.” Even when we do mention the negative before the positive, as in the Blessing of Redemption, we say: “Behold our affliction… and redeem us”, we do not ask God to terminate the exile before asking Him to redeem us.

It is interesting to note that it is precisely on Rosh Chodesh, the new beginning of the month that, before we focus on what we want the month to begin with, we define what we want to see the end of.
We sometimes dream of a change in our life that will make all our problems dissipate. What we don’t always realize is that we are so accustomed to living with some of our troubles, that we can be blessed with the most wonderful things, and yet, those blessings will fail to chase our troubles away.
This is perhaps why, instead of saying: “Please, redeem my soul, and I won’t even need to worry about the hardships- they will disappear on their own”, we start by asking for this month to be the end of our hardships, and only then do we beseech God to bless us with the beginning of the redemption of our soul.
On this celebration of renewal, we must remove the weeds to leave room for the bud to blossom, we must close some doors before opening a new door to a month filled with the most exquisite promises.

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